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London: Hindus living in the UK are among the healthiest and well-qualified religious groups and Sikhs are most likely to own their homes, according to the latest census data for England and Wales.

The UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) has been analysing census statistics to release information across various subcategories for the country’s population based on the responses of the online census conducted in March 2021.

In its latest release entitled Religion by housing, health, employment and education’ this week, the ONS finds that life outcomes for religious groups varied considerably.

“In 2021, those who identified as Hindu’ had the highest percentage of their population reporting either very good’ or good’ health (87.8 per cent), compared with 82.0 per cent of the overall population,” the ONS finds, adding that the Hindus also reported the “lowest prevalence of disability”.

“People who identified as Hindu’ had the highest percentage with a Level 4 or above’ [certificate-level] qualification (54.8 per cent), compared with the overall population (33.8 per cent),” it noted.

“People who identified as Sikh’ were more likely to live in households that owned their home 77.7 per cent of those who identified as Sikh’ lived in households that owned their home,” the ONS said.

The religion question is voluntary in the census and in 2021, 94 per cent of the overall population in England and Wales of 56 million chose to answer the question.

The ONS said that many of the life outcomes discussed in its analysis may be influenced by the differing age and sex profiles of religious groups.

“In 2021, people who identified as Muslim’ were nearly four times more likely to live in overcrowded homes than the overall population of England and Wales,” the statistics show.

“In 2021, people who identified as Muslim’ had the lowest percentage of people aged 16 to 64 years in employment (51.4 per cent compared with 70.9 per cent of the overall population); this resulted from the high percentages of people who were students or looking after home or family in this group,” it said.

The ONS pointed out that life outcomes for religious groups often overlap, as people in poor health or caring for others may be less able to work or gain education.

Income, where people live, and cultural background, also have an influence on outcomes.

The analysis reveals that those who identified as “Christian” had an older age profile and reported poorer health than the overall population.

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“People who identified as Christian’ were most likely to live in households that owned their home outright (36 per cent), 8.9 percentage points higher than the overall population (27.1 per cent).

This group had a median (average) age of 51 years, compared with 40 years for the overall population, suggesting that they may have had time to pay off a mortgage or loan,” the ONS said.

The 2021 census survey was filled out by more than 24 million households across England and Wales and data from the survey is being published in stages by the ONS since then.

According to an earlier release, people identifying as Christian fell below half the population for the first time, while those identifying as Hindu, Muslim or Sikh registered a small rise.

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